Videos are changing the discussion around SEN/D and music


A key issue for music hubs working to meet the needs of SEN/D children and young people is: what does effective practice look/ sound like?

Teachers commonly assimilate new ideas, share resources and reflect upon their own practice by observing other teachers in their department. This is not so straightforward for music teachers working solo, nor their ‘community music’ colleagues (don’t schools operate in the community…?)

And especially not so the relatively few teachers and musicians working exclusively in the SEN/D ‘sector’ who are typically out there delivering on a limb.

It’s in this context that video examples prove so important.

If you find it hard to seek out other professionals working in a similar way (and many SEN/D music teachers do) then the next best step is to seek out examples online. Until very recently even this option wasn’t available.

The significant ‘game changers’ have been the Sounds of Intent framework; and the DM Education ‘Experiences’ webpage (on the DM website) currently displaying a wealth of video/ experiences that demonstrate good practice as part of our ‘Spotlighting’ initiative (funded by Youth Music).

Every element on the Sounds of Intent framework can be quickly cross-referenced to video examples of actual activities i.e. ‘this is what a Level 1, Element A activity might look like’. The framework is based on hundreds of hours of research and observation in the field…and dozens of videos.

The DM Education/ Experiences webpage contains video examples including Opera North, Epiphany Music, Drake Music and also from a host of special schools themselves (with many more ‘in the pipeline’).

Each video is accompanied by a written experience to enable the viewer to get a sense of how the project played out – the successes, the challenges and the reflective practice.

Music hubs that have successfully established SEN/D networks in the past year might like to consider organizing training events or TeachMeets where people share ideas/ approaches using video examples.

The next step is for people to start evaluating the videos themselves online and debating their relative successes/ shortcomings. It’s at that stage that the debates around SEN/D delivery will join the well established discussions in mainstream music on an equal footing and start to significantly raise the bar of opportunity and quality.

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